Monday, September 27, 2010

Toddler Struggle

I love the baby stage. I love everything about it, the cuddles, the coos, the predictable schedule, the knowledge that you can provide all they need. It is a perfect fit for me.

The toddler stage... not the best fit for me. The mess, the attitude, the whining, the defiance, the unpredictable mood swings, the wildly released energy - just about drive me to the loony bin. I'm not saying that having a baby is all daisies and sunshine. Parenthood is hard, at any stage. A baby's cry can definitely grate on one's nerves. However, I feel that it is nothing compared to a toddler's screaming tantrum.

Palmer was just about the best baby I've known. He was always happy and always smiling. I know that he is still a good kid, and that his current behavior now is normal and it is conducive to the stage he is in. After all, he is two, and twos are known to be terrible. Yet, I can't help my own struggle with the toddler years. I feel that I am frustrated with him far more than I should be. Greg and I both find ourselves yelling at him, and we aren't yellers. When I was watching children at home, the mother of one of those children told me that her daughter said I never yelled at them, unlike their own mother. I remember at the time feeling really good about that. I remember feeling proud of myself that I could discipline with such kindness and control. Well, apparently I only have these superior parenting skills with other people's children, because lately I catch myself raising my voice far too often. He tests me over and over again. Most of the time I handle it well and set firm boundaries. Fairly often I lose patience and it shows. And every once in a while I just stare at him utterly bewildered, having no idea what to do.

Please don't get me wrong. I love my curious and energetic two year old more than words can describe. We have a lot of fun, and I love how quickly he is learning and growing. He cracks me up with his silly little mannerisms. I just wish I knew how to better deal with all too frequent rough patches that come along with these toddler years. Any advice out there? Please send it on my way.


Adrienne said...

No advice here, just the encouragement that you are not the only one!!! This age is hard.

*Marie* said...

I don't have much advice, but I know this- You and Greg are great parents, and are raising your family the best way you know how while leaning on the Lord for guidance.

Brian_n_Amy said...

Oh my gosh! I am SO glad I am not alone! I have been feeling the same way too. I guess the only thing is to remember that they are two. It will get better (maybe not immediately) BUT it is just the stage they are in. It's normal to get frustrated with them not minding. I've raised my voice quite a few times to Tali too. It's okay. You're HUMAN! I've found that it's also okay for even Mommies and Daddies to give themselves time outs! Cheer up! It will get better. I PROMISE! Diddo to what Adrienne and Marie said!

mj said...

you are doing everything right. you just need to ride the toddler wave out. eventually he will get easier to love, and then he will move out :o) (that is the current joke around here). this age is so hard. just be consistent and meet his grumpiness with happiness as often as you can. i started reading christlike parenting (lathem). it is helping me.

Lynette said...

I hear you. :) There is much to love about the baby stages, and much left to be desired of the toddler stages.

When I lose my cool, the number one most important thing I try to remember to do is apologize to my kids when MOM is out of line. I always thought my parents were perfect because they never apologized to me when they were in the wrong. I feel that my kids need to know that I make mistakes and that I hold myself accountable when I "lose it." I'm certainly not proud of myself when I do so and I don't want my kids to think that yelling at them is okay, when I feel terrible for it. So, if you find yourself losing it with your boys, step back -- take that deep breath that every mother does -- and then tell your boys how sorry you are and that while what they did wasn't okay, mommy yelling about it isn't okay, either. That's my two cents. The most wonderful thing is how forgiving children are. :)

Lera said...

Thanks for the support everyone and great advice Megaen and Lynette.